Imagine two completely unrelated businesses, A and B, both have toll free phone numbers (so both incur cost for a call to their phone number) but the numbers are close enough for wrong dialling to occur.

Both companies are not huge, but A has a larger customer base than B.

The numbers are correctly advertised with no mistakes.

Would A have any liability to B for a significant volume of misdialled calls, resulting in a significant expense to B? Would A have to adjust their number on the request of B?

  • But, which would be A's mistake? "A's phone number is close to B's phone number" is not "a mistake." Maybe you could argue for the mistakes from A's customer when dialing, but of course the cost of each individual mistake is going to be minimal, even if we assume that there is a responsability from the customer.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 25, 2022 at 8:12
  • It seems Company A has done nothing wrong here. I would advise Company B to think about how to reduce the impact of this (including by talking with Company A), turn this into an opportunity or change its phone number if it doesn't want this situation to continue.
    – Lag
    Sep 25, 2022 at 8:35
  • @SJuan76 does there have to be a mistake for there to be liability? If thats the case, and theres no mistake on As part, then thats an answer if it can be reasonably supported with citations. The question basically boils down to B incurs significant cost because of something associated with A, does A bear any liability for that - “no” is a reasonable answer if supported.
    – RandomUser
    Sep 25, 2022 at 9:40
  • It is you who said that company A had made a mistake, not me. But from the description of the situation I see no mistake. It seems that you are jumping to conclusions in order to get the answer you want.
    – SJuan76
    Sep 25, 2022 at 10:53
  • 2
    What kind of support would satisfy you? An identical scenario that went to court? A law specifically assigning blame to the holder of a phone number for misdials of that number? Good luck. Sep 25, 2022 at 15:08

1 Answer 1



A doesn’t owe a duty of care to B so there is no basis for any liability. Nor has any act or omission of A injured B.

  • 1
    Any citations or case law in either of the jurisdictions to support the answer?
    – RandomUser
    Sep 25, 2022 at 10:07
  • @RandomUser §823 Liability in damages - German Civil Code (BGB): (1) A person who, intentionally or negligently, unlawfully injures the life, body, health, freedom, property or another right of another person is liable to make compensation to the other party for the damage arising from this. Sep 25, 2022 at 10:29
  • 1
    @MarkJohnson thank you, but not interested in German law, just US and UK (both more similar to each other than German law).
    – RandomUser
    Sep 25, 2022 at 10:48
  • 1
    In UK we don't sue over such matters. It's a US predilection to try to prove that it is someone else's fault when something bad happens. Here, we would apply to change the number, and this is a frequent occurrence with private subscribers (not toll-free) who get a 'nuisance-level' amount of wrong number calls. They don't sue (and probably can't) the company who holds the mistaken number, because it is not them causing the nuisance. Sep 25, 2022 at 17:13
  • 1
    In the German law passage, note the word “unlawful”. It’s lawful for A to have a number similar to B. Somehow getting the same number and refusing to fix it might be unlawful, but that doesn’t happen here. Every business lawfully damages other businesses by taking sales from them.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 26, 2022 at 7:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .